Strutner notes that environment is one where “hordes of humans with all types of coughs, colds and questionable hygiene habits into one tiny space to share air, armrests and all the germs that come with travel.” Those germs can include E. coli that causes severe diarrhea to MRSA bacteria that’s resistant to many antibiotics. On an airplane, those germs can live for days at a time.
Strutner suggests not touching the following:
When researchers applied a virulent strain of E. coli to airplane armrests, the bacteria lived there for 96 hours, which is longer than E. coli lived on tray tables and toilet flushers. Touching an illness-causing strain of E. coli isn’t the problem; rubbing the eyes or touching the mouth is the problem as this increases the risk of infection.
2. Tray tables
In a 2007 study, researchers from the University of Arizona swabbed tray tables. Later, 4 of 6 tested positive for MRSA and noroviruses that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Those tray tables are cleaned, on average, once/day. Place a barrier between the food and tray table plus wash your hands before eating. The Motley Monk suggests carrying some packaged sani-wipes.
3. The lavatory's inside door handle
Picture this: People on the plane need to go to the bathroom. So, they touch all the seat tops as they walk down the aisle. They then use the bathroom, don't wash their hands, and walk out the door and grab onto all of those seat tops again. Use a paper towel to open the lavatory door and try not to touch the seat tops.
4. The toilet flush button
A safe harbor for E. coli for 48 hours. To minimize contact with all germs, cover your hand with a paper towel prior to flushing. The Motley Monk thinks this might require some deterity and practice.
5. The lavatory faucet handles
~30% of airplane faucet handles carried MRSA and noroviruses that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Use the elbow to turn on the faucet. The solution? See #4. Plus: Is there enough room?
6. The blankets
Fresh, packaged blankets are placed on airplanes each morning. But, those blankets are then re-folded and re-used on every other flight for the rest of the day. Yikes!
7. The toilet seat
20% of toilet seats carry E. coli. Don’t ever touch a toilet seat….ever. OMG!
Let the discussion begin...
To read Suzy Strutner's article in The Huffington Post, click on the following link: